W. Mark Ford

Distribution Probability of the Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel in the High Allegheny Mountains

SEAFWA Journal Volume 9, March 2022

In the central Appalachians of Virginia and West Virginia, the Virginia northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus; VNFS) is a subspecies of northern flying squirrel generally associated with red spruce (Picea rubens)-dominated forests at high elevations. Listed as endangered by the

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 1985 to 2013, the VNFS currently is the subject of a 10-year post-delisting assessment. Still considered a state-listed species in Virginia and a species of greatest conservation need in West Virginia, the VNFS serves as a focal target for...

Predicting Foraging Habitat of Gray Myotis in Georgia

In the southeastern United States, ongoing urbanization and associated environmental perturbations, such as water quality degradation, potentially affect foraging habitat of the federally endangered gray myotis (Myotis grisescens). Conserving foraging areas of gray myotis is critical to this species' recovery, especially as white nose syndrome (Geomyces destructans) recently has been documented in this species. From 2000 to 2001, we used acoustic monitoring and spatial models to determine foraging areas of gray myotis near four bachelor/maternity colonies in northwestern Georgia. We...

Effects of GPS Sampling Intensity on Home Range Analyses

The two most common methods for determining home ranges, minimum convex polygon (MCP) and kernel analyses, can be affected by sampling intensity. Despite prior research, it remains unclear how high-intensity sampling regimes affect home range estimations. We used datasets from 14 GPS-collared, white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) to describe the size and location accuracy of home range estimates calculated from different sampling regimes. We compared monthly home range estimates from seven sub-samples (480, 360, 180, 90, 60, 30, and 15 locations) to the home range estimates of...

Habitat Associations of Bats in South-central West Virginia

Wildlife Outstanding Technical Paper

We conducted acoustic surveys at National Park Service and state park properties in south-central West Virginia to create bat habitat association models across a large, topographically complex and relatively intact Appalachian Hardwood landscape representative of the Allegheny Plateau portion of the central Appalachians. We developed generalized and species-specific groups of a priori habitat association models to predict bat presence using various microhabitat and landscape features linked to body-size, wing morphology, food habits and echolocation call characteristics for seven species....

Effects of Thinning and Herbicide Application on Vertebrate Communities in Longleaf Pine Plantations

Currently, nearly 98% of the land area once dominated by longleaf pine ecosystems has been converted to other uses. The U.S. Forest Service is replanting logged areas with longleaf pine at the Savannah River Site, New Ellenton, South Carolina, in an effort to restore these ecosystems. To ascertain the effects of various silvicultural management techniques on the vertebrate communities, we surveyed small mammal, herpetofaunal, and avian communities in six 10- to 13-year-old longleaf pine plantations subjected to various thinning and herbicide regimes. Areas within each plantation were...

Shrews in Managed Northern Hardwood Stands in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia

Shrews are an abundant and important component of the mammalian fauna in central and southern Appalachian forested habitats. Because most soricids are small, cryptic, and difficult to survey, they typically have been underrepresented in research examining effects of forest management on small mammals. To assess shrew response to clearcutting northern hardwood forests in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia, we conducted a pitfall trapping survey during the late spring and early summer of 1998 and 1999 across a chronosequence of northern hardwood stand-ages from recently clearcut to...

Nesting Success of Ruffed Grouse in West Virginia

Ruffed grouse densities are lower in the southern portion of its range than in the more northern reaches. It has been suggested that the lower productivity of ruffed grouse in southern latitudes may account for lower population densities. We examined nesting success of ruffed grouse Bonasa umbellus at 2 sites in West Virginia during 1998 and 1999. We located nests of radio-collared female grouse and determined proportion of females that nested, nest success (proportion of hens successful in hatching ?1 chick), clutch size, hatching success, and hatch dates. Proportion of hens that...

Fire Impacts to Small Mammals in Piedmont Oak-shelterwoods

Successful regeneration of oaks on better sites (SI50>60) has proven difficult in recent decades due to competition from faster growing species and well-established advanced regeneration from more shade-tolerant species. The suppression of fire is thought to have played a critical role in allowing this largely fire-intolerant competition to dominate many upland hardwood forests at the expense of oaks. As part of a larger study examining the role of prescribed fire in regenerating upland oaks, seasonal prescribed burns were applied to first-stage shelterwood harvested stands on Horsepen...

Woodland Salamander and Small Mammal Responses to Alternative Silvicultural Practices in the Southern Appalachians of North Carolina

The effects of 2 years post-treatment of group selection and 2-aged timber harvests on woodland salamanders and mammals were assessed on stands in high elevation, southern Appalachian northern red oak (Quercus rubra)-flame azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum) communities, in the Nantahala National Forest. We collected 4 salamander species and 10 small mammal species. We detected no difference in woodland salamander relative abundance between timber harvests and uncut (control) stands. Similarly, relative abundance of all small mammal species, except masked shrews (Sorex cinereus), was...

Summer Roost Tree Selection by Eastern Red, Seminole, and Evening Bats in the Upper Coast Plain of South Carolina

We radiotracked 6 eastern red (Lasiurus borealis), 6 Seminole (Lasiurus seminolus), and 24 evening bats (Nycticeius humeralis) to 55, 65, and 61 day-roosts, respectively, during summers 1996 and 1997 in the Upper Coastal Plain of South Carolina. For each species, we tested for differences between used roost trees and randomly located trees. We also tested for differences between habitat characteristics surrounding roost trees and randomly located trees. Eastern red and Seminole bats generally roosted in canopies of hardwood and pine (Pinus), respectively, clinging to foliage and small...